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Variations on peanut butter sandwiches?

When defining American cuisine, I believe that the peanut butter and jelly sandwich is more American than hamburgers ... or mom's apple pie.

Wiki writes on the standard variations

"Some variants add[1] honey, chocolate or maple syrup, normal chocolate, the hazelnut-chocolate spread Nutella, marshmallows, raisins, bananas, butter, marshmallow fluff, potato chips (UK: crisps), cheese, other dried fruit, or another slice of bread. Other less common variations include slices of fresh fruit besides bananas such as apples or strawberries."

For the most part I prefer it classic ... good sliced white bread with crust, peanut butter and straberry jam. Sometimes I'll toast the bread, but not usually.

I tried it grilled once, like a grilled cheese sandwich, but didn't care for it. The peanut butter was too runny and the whole thing was a greasy mess.

When I was a little kid ... get ready for the eeewww factor ... I would butter the bread, add cream cheese on one slice, peanut butter on the other and then jelly before slapping this together.

My "gourmet" variation ... raisin bread with peanut butter and fig jam.

Funny, yet seriously obsessive link on how to make the perfect peanut butter sandwich

"Avoid using thick bread like Texas Toast. You want to be able to taste the peanut butter and jelly, not get a mouthful of bread everytime you take a bite. The reason you want to use white bread, and not Whole Wheat, Rye or Italian, for example, is that the taste of the bread will interfere with the two most vital ingredients."

"Even if you like crunchy peanut butter, refrain from using it. The best PB&J sandwiches don't make much of a noise when you're eating them; you should only hear the smacking of your lips."

The Food Timeline website talks about the history of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich as well as some peanut butter sandwiches variations

Peanut Butter and Apricot Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Cabbage Sandwich
Peanutpine Sandwich (peanut butter, honey, walnuts, lettuce, pineapple
)Peanut Butter and Prune Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Orange Sandwich (orange juice & peel)
Peanut Buter and Ham Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Tomato Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Pickle Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Ginger Sandwich
Egg and Peanut Butter Sandwich
Peanut Butter & Cherry Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Chili Sandwich (on wheat)
Peanut Butter and Olive Sandwich (with mayo on white or rye)
Peanutraise Sandwich (raisins, peanut butter, brown sugar, salt, lemon juice & orange juice)

How do you like your peanut butter sandwhich?

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  1. i will kindly disagree about not using crunchy peanut butter. i love the combination of crunchy nuts smoothy peanut butter. i make peanut butter and banana sandwiches all the time....sometimes i'll add a lil granola or honey even. when it comes to jelly, i only use grape.

    i like to warm my sandwiches slightly in the toaster, but not toast so they melt a lil without becoming crunchy. wrapping them in foil helps with this too & makes for easy cleanup if they happen to leak

    2 Replies
    1. re: Maggie Larkin

      Not only do I prefer - in fact, insist on - crunchy PB, I disagree about the bread as well. I was for a while taking PB&J sandwiches to work for lunch, and my ultimate combo was crunchy PB and strawberry preserves on honey-wheatberry. Got so much stuff caught in my teeth I had something to chew on all afternoon …

      When I was a kid I did NOT like peanut butter, hating the way it gummed up my mouth, but then I was introduced to PB and banana. Not only were the flavors wonderful together, but the banana lubricated the chewing mechanism very effectively.

      My current peanut-butter sandwich of choice, a taste I'm told I inherited from my father, is the grilled PB (crunchy!) and cheese, preferably sharp cheddar.

      1. You forgot to add the bacon! (or did I miss it) Chunky peanut butter, sour cherry jam, bacon for Chunky LA Buckeye Fan.

        1. Some variations that I like:

          PB + Chinese pork floss
          PB + Crushed Dortios
          PB + Guacamole
          Chilled PB + Jelly (with a cup of warm apple cider or hot chocolate)

          And no matter what variation, it's gotta be on white bread -- the more refined the flour the better -- and preferably Wonder bread.

          1. I love mine with bacon and / or sausage. Mayo is optional

            1. another vote for bacon, preferably on toasted wheat or cinnamon-raisin with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

              and of course there's the Elvis!

              2 Replies
              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I use maple cured bacon / sausage instead of the syrup; too runny with the melted PB. Finger-lickin' good.

                1. re: mucho gordo

                  ah, but not if you just spread a little of the syrup on one side of the warm toast and let it soak into the bread ;)

              2. After reading some of the combos, my pb and j is too boring.

                Toasted english muffin buttered, crunchy pb and strawberry preserves (I like the chunks of fruit).
                Alternative to strawberry preserves, banana and honey.

                2 Replies
                1. re: dave_c

                  Oh yeah ... peanut butter on toasted English muffins is great, the only thing as good as white bread. The peanut butter oozes into the crevices and there's that combo of smooth peanut butter and crunchy English muffin. However, it is always open-faced on an English muffin.

                  1. re: rworange

                    Exactly! "The peanut butter oozes into the crevices..."

                    However, I like the muffin closed-face. Probably has something to do with pb sticking to the roof of my mouth or on my lips that I don't like. The top muffin acts as a barrier.

                2. I'm surprised that grape jelly has only been mentioned once, while strawberry got 1001 mentions.
                  Grape is pretty basic on this sandwich, to me. Pineapple-apricot, orange marmalade, the deep purple berries--great too. Apple butter with peanut butter isn't so good, even though peanut butter spread on raw apples is truly fine.
                  Don't forget peanut butter and... butter (room temp).
                  Or just peanut butter on hot toast.

                  1. I'm not one to usually buy a peanut butter sandwich, but a great sandwich shop I used to work near was running one as a special: It was a spicy peanut butter, I think it had some cayenne in it, with apricot preserves on hot raisin toast. Very good combo.

                    1. Favorite is crunchy, actually super crunchy on 12 grain (toasted) spread on both sides of the bread and homemade strawberry jam in the middle for lunch. Breakfast is toasted sourdough w/ again, super crunchy w/ thinly sliced ripe bananas. That breakfast will last me 'till dinner.

                      I used to eat creamy pb w/ sliced dill on white when I was a kid - haven't had that in years.

                      1. Yet another vote for bacon; my mom turned me onto PB, bacon, and lettuce sandwiches on whole wheat. Sounds gross but really works.

                        My favorite PB sandwich of all time for packed lunches is crunchy PB and honey on whole wheat, but only if made with enough honey that as it sits for a few hours the honey soaks into the bread and starts to crystallize - such great textures. If I didn't think ahead enough for this, my second favorite is crunchy PB with real (deli) American cheese, and if I'm feeling indulgent, Lay's original chips crushed inside.

                        And of course the classic Fluffernutter, though that's so sweet and indulgent that I only ever have it as a dessert. That's great with Lay's chips crushed inside too! Love desserts that are sweet and salty, crunchy and soft.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: GardenFresh

                          What kind of lettuce? Iceburg for the crunch?

                          1. re: rworange

                            Romaine, to be honest because that's the lettuce we always keep on hand.

                          2. re: GardenFresh

                            I love peanut butter and honey on whole wheat too, but I like to add grated carrot. It adds a little moisture and crunch, and keeps it from being too sweet.

                            1. re: Ferdzy

                              Sounds very interesting, I'll have to try that. Doesn't hurt that adding a veg makes it a bit healthier too.

                          3. Pepperidge Farms thin white bread toasted spread the peanut butter on then sprinkle thinly sliced celery bits a dash of salt and dried cranberries

                            1. I enjoyed many PB & Mayo sammiches when I was a kid. My Grandma would eat them (sometimes with sweet relish, ack) and I started liking them, too. All of my friends thought it was pretty gross, except the guy whose Dad made him PB & Onion sandwiches. These days, I don't have them often, but when I do, it's a nubbly multigrain bread, super chunk PB and apricot preserves. Maybe I'll have that for dinner tonight instead of leftover pozole.

                              1. My current fav is homemade sunflower butter, sliced honeycomb and grated cinnamon on a warmed (not toasted) slice of sourdough bread open face.

                                But smooth pb (lately, Justin's) on whole wheat with homemade whole fruit, strawberry jam and a drizzle of dark, thick balsamic vinegar is amazingly satisfying for lunch.

                                1. I like crunchy peanut butter with thinly sliced granny smith apple, a sprinkle of ground ginger and a dab of something spicy: cayenne, harissa, or chili paste. on a soft whole wheat bread. cut in half diagonally.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: magiesmom

                                    i was wondering if anyone but me did fresh apple! i usually skip the spice, but do apple (granny smith or honeycrisp) with crunchy pb on buttermilk white OR oatnut bread, lightly toasted or soft depending on mood, with raspberry preserves. sometimes throw in some sharp cheddar or dried cranberries/raisins, too.

                                  2. Peanutbutter with Sambal Oelek, yum!

                                    1. Peanut Butter and Chopped Chicken Livers

                                      1. First my fav is the peanut butter made fresh at a deli. Not super smooth, a little grainy. You will either love it or hate it. But this is the real original pbutter.
                                        Next with some butter and bacon on toast is very good.
                                        And last rye good crusty rye bread with seeds makes a nice combination
                                        Last don't forget Peanut butter on a spoon!
                                        P.S. I used to like Jif but they must have changed their formula, of store bought I go with Skippy smooth or chunky.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Hankster123

                                          As a young man I boarded with a family for a couple of months. Part of the deal was the mother/wife/ would pack me a lunch each morning.
                                          For the first week she made my sandwiches using peanut butter and lettuce and sliced baloney. (In the same sandwich)

                                          1. re: Puffin3

                                            That sounds.....terrifying!! Not to yuck someone else's yum but..... Yeah. (Maybe she was a stoner??? ;))

                                        2. Always smooth never crunchy
                                          Wonder bread with pb and raspberry preserves
                                          Fluffernutter (pb and fluff) on country white bread

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Jpan99

                                            Wow! It took over three years for someone to mention the Fluffernutter. That was one of the all-time favorites when I was growing up. I introduced DW to this delicacy last year for her birthday. She hasn't been the same since.

                                          2. There's a semi new sandwich shop in midtown nyc with a sandwich on a ciabatta roll, fried almond butter, a pickled raisin paste/spread and charred roasted broccoli....

                                            I'm going to give them an "A" for creativity, yet dunno that i'm lining up to buy one myself....

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Ttrockwood

                                              I wonder how you fry almond butter??

                                            2. Creamy peanut butter for me all the way. My mother used to buy the crunchy style, and the crunchy bits got stuck in between my teeth. I hated that!

                                              I never was particularly fancy with my peanut butter sandwiches. Usually just peanut butter and strawberry preserves. I tried peanut butter and bananas but didn't like the contrasting textures. Peanut butter and bacon is okay, but it takes too long to cook the bacon.

                                              OTOH, my dad used to make peanut butter and tuna fish sandwiches. He swore they were really really good. He lied. They were awful.

                                              These days peanut butter sandwiches, including open face peanut butter sandwiches, a.k.a. toast with peanut butter, are made without peanut butter at all. We've switched to sun butter made with sunflower seeds instead of peanuts. There's very little difference in flavor, and DW doesn't die from a peanut allergy reaction.

                                              1. How 'bout a pb&j drink? Adult version: Frangelico and Chambord.

                                                1. I had an amazing peanut butter sandwich this week. I used chocolate banana prune bread and crunchy pb. (I used this recipe but added chopped prunes instead of the chocolate chips, but only because we were out of chocolate chips.) Sublime!

                                                  1. Smooth PB, just a bit. Nutella and marmalade on toasted baguette.